The New Moms’ Kits Are Here

Oonagh_1st_KitsSaturday was “kindling day” for Siobhán, our American Chinchilla doe, and Oonagh, our Silver Fox/New Zealand doe. This is a first pregnancy for both girls, so it’s never safe to assume that everything will go smoothly.
Rabbits give birth after roughly 31 days. Oonagh gave birth to seven healthy, dark gray kits late in the morning on Sunday. Siobhán didn’t kindle until later in the evening, but also had 7 healthy kits, though she had them in a pile of hay instead of the carefully arranged nest box we put in for her. Continue reading “The New Moms’ Kits Are Here”

Ava’s Second Litter – Day Three

Ava's Rabbit KitsOur red-eyed white (REW) New Zealand doe, Ava, kindled on Sunday. She tends to pull fur at the last minute, so we knew something was up when we saw the nest box lined with white fur. The kits were completely hidden from sight, but slight movement beneath the fur indicated the babies had arrived.

In preparation for kindling, Ava made a very plush nest in the tractor outside – it was thickly padded with grass she had industriously collected and spread inside her tote bin shelter. While it was a shame to waste her efforts, we brought her inside a few days before she was due to kindle and provided her with an equally cushy nest box, which she proceeded to rearrange. Doe’s prerogative. Continue reading “Ava’s Second Litter – Day Three”

Loretta’s Kits – Day 5

Loretta_Litter2_Day5Loretta’s nine kits are all alive and well, and spending most of their time doing what kits do…sleeping. This litter’s sire is Raylan, a very mellow and friendly white New Zealand buck. While Loretta isn’t as outgoing as Ava (a white NZ doe), she is reasonably tolerant of being handled and is a good mother. She fostered Waldo, also a white NZ, when Waldo was a kit and too small to compete with his 10 littermates. We’re happy to report that it’s impossible to tell which kit is Waldo now; all four of Ava’s white kits look nearly identical.

This kindling was different because Loretta didn’t want to use the nest box and kindled on the wire. Continue reading “Loretta’s Kits – Day 5”

More Weather Mayhem

Overturned_RTWe had another night of severe storms, with forecasted winds of up to 55 mph. After the chicken tractor went aloft in the last windstorm, we modified it by shortening the tarp providing shade and cover on top; the result was that less than a quarter of it remained covered. There’s no way that thing could take off again.

Wrong. We were using it to house our “extra” roosters, and were flabbergasted this morning to realize that it had moved several feet from its original location. Of the original 10, only 1 cockerel remained inside. When we went looking for the others, it became clear from the body count that something, either a coyote or fox, had massacred the cockerels that had escaped when the tractor was lifted by the wind. A couple of them had been eaten, but most had just been killed and left where they lay. We didn’t find a couple, but the piles of feathers is a clear clue that they were likely victims of the predator, too. Continue reading “More Weather Mayhem”

New Rabbit Tractors

RT4-5_05Can you believe that the rabbit kits are nearly 8 weeks old now?  It was looking crowded in the kindling cages – there were 20 babies, after all – so we built two additional tractors this weekend. These are tractors number 4 and 5, and we made minor modifications to improve on the original design; specifically, reducing the width slightly to allow for a larger roof overhang (we get good storms out here). It’s all about continuous improvement!

RT4-5_PatchConstruction never seems to go quite as planned. We encountered the typical twisted lumber issues; even better, we discovered a roll of cage wire had a major defect (a gap where it was missing wire) that wasn’t visible until we had wrapped more than half the tractor and secured it with screws. Rather than undo it all to take the wire back, we patched it and continued on. It was a bad surprise, though, meriting choice expletives. Continue reading “New Rabbit Tractors”

Mini Ava Poses For A Photo

Ava_and_Mini_AvaThe rabbit kits are 2 weeks old now and very active. Well, they actually sleep a lot (still) but since their eyes are open, they can often be seen peeking out from the nest box, looking to get into mischief.

Each morning, several of the kits will be out, usually huddled together. They can get out of the nest box, but it’s too tall for them to get back in. It’s warm here, though, so there’s no risk of chilling. They usually try to get a meal from the does, squirming and pushing to try to get under them, and the does just ignore them until they get annoyed and move away from the youngsters, sometimes causing the kits to do an ungraceful somersault as the does hop away. They’ll get a meal when Mom is ready, and not until then. Continue reading “Mini Ava Poses For A Photo”